2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is a More Refined Thoroughbred
Purchase of the 526 hp performer comes with a day at the Ford Performance Racing School.
“Let it go,” says the Ford test engineer in the passenger seat, shooing my right hand away from the shifter knob. We’ve just rounded a decreasing-radius hairpin turn at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Mich., and now I’m flat-out on the gas into the half-mile straightaway in third gear. I glance down and see the needle passing the 7,000 rpm mark, then 8,000. In the blink of an eye, we’re doing more than 100 mph and listening to the unbridled growl of a throaty exhaust as our Mustang Shelby GT350 hurdles toward a sweeping right-hander. The 526 hp, 5.2-liter V-8 engine features 429 ft lbs of torque and an 8,250 rpm redline, enough to shoot us down the straight without shifting into fourth.
Fifty-five years after the first Ford Mustang rolled off the assembly line, an updated version of the iconic GT350 is burning up the track. The first Shelby GT350 was introduced in 1965 as a high-performance version of the fastback pony car, with a 289-cubic-inch V-8 engine modified with a four-barrel Holley carburetor that made 306 hp and 329 ft lbs of torque. Today, the GT350 (starting at $59,140) is not only faster and more powerful but, for 2019, gets improved aerodynamics and handling.